5 09, 2013

Frank Mini-Me Piller: Get Yourself 3D-Printed, Keep Your Young Self Forever

By | 2018-06-14T06:33:55+00:00 September 5th, 2013|3D Printing, Cases-Consumer, Customization Trends, Design, Fabbing, Technologies & Enablers, Virtual Models|

Doob 3d printing
has developed far beyond a trend by now. Potential applications are manifold, ranging from medical gear to entire houses. And now you can even have a detailed replica of yourself printed in a variety of sizes, a kind of 3D printed Mini-Me, to give it away to your friends or just place on your shelve to keep a memory of your young, energetic self for the decades to come.

In Germany, there are several companies offering this service. I used Doob, or Deep End Productions, located in Duesseldorf, Germany. Founded by Vladimir Puhalac and Torsten Bernasco Lisboa, the companys offers 3D photographs to everyone. While standard sizes go from 15 to 30 coms, you can also get a lifesize figure (for 15K Euro onwards, the 30cm version go for about 300 Euros).

All you have to do is to show up in their studio and be photographed from all sides, simultaniously, by a 50 cameras (this process is called Photogrammetry"). These pictures than are transferred into a 3D model, which then is hand-modelled into the final 3D file. This file then is placed on a standard 3D systems prototyoing machine that can print in full color.

The founders are coming from the medical field and have a strong background in 3d modelling. Their first company is providing replicas of ears, noses, and breasts to unfortunate patients who lost these bodyparts. With this background, they discovered the stereo litography, and developed a quite efficient procedure to develop your "doppelgänger". After the photograph, a 3D model is created that then is manually prepared for the final print. While the later procedure takes about 2 hours, I believe it can be brought down.

They now opened a first store in Duesseldorf, but plan to enter the US and Japanese market, too, within the next months.

The result is really stunning, and while I belive that in general people like to see themselves, it really is a great feeling to have yourself as a mini-figure. But also everyone else found this really cool.

This is why I believe that this kind of 3D printing service may become the killer application that makes 3D printing a mainstream business application:

  • Established market. Our parents all used to go once every few years to a professional photographer for a family picture. While this market has almost disappeared, this 3D printing service may foster its revival.
  • Fast. The print is based on a photograph, not a 3D scan. This means you can also have a child, dog, or something similar quickly moving on your arm.
  • The quality is really stunning. You can see the pattern of your t-shirt or even your tatoo perfectly (I almost feel sorry that I did not have a tatoo to be printed on my figure).
  • Prices will go down rapidely. While the current price of 200-300 Euros is quite high, there is plenty of room for adjustments (I estimate that material costs are below 10 Euro).
  • There are many more options for business model innovation: You and your favorite soccer star in one print; you and your baby belly (very popular with German moms to be); the partners of a law firm greeting their clients on the reception desk, you holding a poster and a bunch of flowers proposing to your wife to be, …
  • Local production: While delivery in the moment takes a couple a weeks and is done in a central facility, production can be brought down to a couple of hours, opening an entire new market in malls and amusement parks.

So when you have the chance and like to experience a reall fun application of 3D printing, then get your doob, too.

Update: Here are some other posts about this technology and the picture taking:

Captured Dimensions and Twinkind (similar services)

– Report about COKE Israel advertising campaign featuring Mini-figures


5 07, 2013

ShopBot Introduces 3D-Cutter: Handibot Smart Power Tool, Driven by Crowdsourced Apps

By | 2018-06-14T06:47:00+00:00 Juli 5th, 2013|Cases-Industrial, Crowdsourcing, Technologies & Enablers|

Information below originating from ShopBot Tools press realease of Thursday, June 27, 2013.

ShopBot Tools, Inc., has recently launched a
Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to support development
and distribution of its latest hardware innovation, the Handibot smart power

The Handibot Smart Power Tool is a portable robotic power tool designed to enhance creativity
and productivity at construction and remodeling jobsites, in rapid prototyping,
and in countless DIY projects. The Handibot tool features an App-Driven,
one-button “Start;" it can be run from a smartphone or tablet, as well as
from PC's
.  If you've heard of 3D
printers, then think of the Handibot as a '3D Cutter' — you can use the
Handibot to cut, drill, and carve in wood, plastic, and aluminum with
computer-controlled precision.

ShopBot President Ted Hall explained, "The Handibot
tool delivers precision cutting, drilling, machining, and carving. That's
because full-up CNC (computer-numerically-controlled) technology is operating
'behind the scenes.' The Handibot tool features uncompromised components for
open development and expansion of functionality
(6-axis control, I/O, power,
configurability)." ShopBot developer David Bryan emphasized, "CNC
tools are not usually thought of as job-site friendly. With traditional
industrial CNC, you have to take your material to the CNC tool. With the
Handibot, you can bring the tool to the material, wherever you need to

The Kickstarter campaign will fund an initial production
run of Handibot power tools by ShopBot, and also enable development of a
web-based eco-system where anyone with ideas for apps can collaborate with app
developers in an open source software and hardware environment.
"One company
can't possibly come up with all the interesting job apps that can be put to
work with a Handibot tool," Ted Hall explains. "So we look to the
crowd to think of apps for the tool and work together in developing them.
See the campaign at handibot.com/fund.

Here is the kickstarter promotion video on Handibot.


More about the Handibot at www.handibot.com.

6 06, 2013

[OIA Market Study 2013] Who purchases Open Innovation services? Non-profits and public agencies are coming up

By | 2018-06-14T06:47:12+00:00 Juni 6th, 2013|OI Market Study 2013, Open/User Innovation, Technologies & Enablers|

OIAS coverIn a series of postings, we introduce some key figures and results from
our 2013
OIA Study – A Market Report & Comparison
  of more than 160 Open Innovation Accelerators (OIAs)
— intermediaries, brokers, platforms, and consultancies for open innovation
and customer co-creation.

In our 2013 market study, we also investigated who is
using the services offered by the OIAs
. First, we find that clients are served
, and at the same time, OIAs often have the opportunity to also search
and call globally for participation. The U.S., however, still is clearly
leading the OI field of applications.

OIA graphic41

Open innovation is not focused on special industries.
We were surprised by the breadth of industries covered by the OIA's client
lists. Especially the electronics industries are strong. Agriculture could
benefit from a larger attention for OI.

However, within all industries, clients from SMEs are still the
. OI still is a game of global organizations with a dedicated
innovation management function.

Interestingly, we today find rather larger share of non-profit
organizations among the clients of the OIAs
. NGOs and clients from the public
sector are strongly increasing. This may be the outcome of recent "Open
government" trend.

OIA graphic42
OIA graphic43

For the full picture and many more details, including detailed profiles of 160 Open Innovation Service Providers, refer to The Market for Open Innovation: The 2013
RWTH Open Innovation Accelerator Survey
, co-authored by Kathleen Diener & Frank Piller, 2nd
edition, May 2013. Lulu Publishing: Raleigh, USA

Check all options how to get the study at study.open-innovation.com

21 05, 2013

[OI Market Study 2013] Key Results – Global Market for Open Innovation Support

By | 2018-06-14T06:47:20+00:00 Mai 21st, 2013|OI Market Study 2013, Open/User Innovation, Technologies & Enablers|

OIAS coverWhen engaging in OI, organizations face the challenge of creating the internal ecosystem
that allows them to profit from external input in an efficient and effective
way. Professional assistance is offered by Open
Innovation Accelerators

OIAs are intermediaries,
consultancies, and agencies helping their clients to accelerate an open
innovation project by providing dedicated tools, methods, access to an
established community of solvers or participants, but also education and
process consulting.

 With more than 160 players, the market for OIAs however is getting
complex and difficult to navigate. Hence, we reached out to 160 providers of (inbound) open innovation
to join a 90 min survey investigating the OIA’s business model and
environment, productivity, services offered, project specifics, and
characteristics of their participant pool. In addition, we asked about
estimates for the development of the open innovation market.

59 (37 percent) of
the OIAs contacted provided us with a complete data set. For the remaining
companies, we used secondary data sources.

In total, our study
is the largest inquiry of the global market of open innovation services. In the
following, we will provide some high-level results.

Market Structure

OIAS graphic 1We find that the
market for open innovation is getting mature
. On average, OIAs have already
conducted a high number of client
, many of them 200 and more. Still, the market for OIAs shows continuous growth

Ideation contests are seen as the most promising open innovation format. They cover
almost 80 percent of the entire open
innovation market. Secondary services like software support, consultancy, or
executive education enhance the offerings of many OIAs.

But we find that OIAs also
increasingly reach out to functions
beyond new product development
. The core idea pattern of open innovation to
engage an open, undefined network of people in form of an open call or open
search activity seems to be transferrable to a variety of tasks, including
marketing, customer service, recruitment, knowledge management, and HR.

When comparing our 2013 data with data from an earlier
study in 2010, we find that about 20 percent of the 2010 OIAs do not exist any
longer or have been acquired by other players. We expect an even stronger wave of acquisitions and mergers
for the coming years.

The average
for an OI project with an OIA is €43,000. But project costs differ
widely, ranging from €12 (for a basic monthly description of an OIA
web-service) to €164,000 (for an OI consulting service). The main project cost driver is personnel capacity. In the end, OIAs are no IT services or
"self-service internet platforms", but knowledge-intensive service
businesses. Recruiting experienced project managers and analysts becomes a
major challenge for many OIAs.

Services & Methods

In general, OIAs differ, first of all, regarding their
approaches how to tap into an external knowledge space. These approaches can be
differentiated according to the way how
contributors for a specific project are selected
and the collaborative
process is being initiated. We find three options:

  • Open Call: Calling for individuals to identify themselves by
    contributing to a given task;
  • Open Search. Searching for relevant information or individuals
    according to a given task
  • Selective Open Call: Calling for individuals, but within a pre-defined set
    of potential participants (a hybrid between the previous two options)

These three options also help to structure the service
types that OIAs offer when we add the type of information requested by the
client: information about market needs or information about technical solutions:


OIAS chart 1

Table: Open Innovation Approaches and practical examples


with an OIA

Picking the right intermediary depends, first of all, on the type of task and the nature of
the innovation problem. Not all OIAs are suited for every open innovation
challenge. OIAs further differ with regard to the breadth, scope, and structure
of their pool of potential participants, and the options for clients to control
access to this pool and the interaction within a given project. Furthermore,
outcomes of an OIA project can range from raw ideas to sophisticated concepts –
and selecting an OIA very much depends on the expected outcome and preferred degree of outsourcing the OI
function to the OIA.

From a client perspective, the OIA business has two major characteristics, distinguishing it from
conventional innovation consultants. These two characteristics also should be
key decision criteria when selecting an

First, software plays an essential part of any open innovation venture. Web 2.0 and social software technologies allow OIAs
to operate globally and integrate large numbers of participants without high
transaction cost. In 90 percent of all cases, OIAs offer a distinct software
solution. Hence, selecting an OIA also means deciding whether the software
solution should be implemented in-house (following a traditional license model) or using it as a web-service or via a hosted service of the OIA.

Secondly, OIAs build on the involvement of a community. OIAs connect clients through their communities with a
variety of external actors, most of them are new and unknown to the client
(this "looking out of the box" is exactly the value of open
innovation). OIA services differ significantly regarding their community
composition. In average, we find that OIAs have an existing pool of
participants (their "community") of 20,000 members. But OIAs
specializing on ideation or technical contests often have communities of more
than 100,000 members. To join the pool of participants, prospective
participants have to accept general terms and conditions, but in general do
sign not a formal contract. This is a core difference of open innovation via OIAs
compared to traditional forms of R&D networks or alliances.

Between communities, the general level of expertise of its members differs significantly among the
different services. OIAs offering technical search services in form of
technology scouting, for example, have access to high level expert communities,
while OIAs focusing on ideation and concept generation often have a broad, very
heterogeneous community of "average" consumers.

For the full picture, refer to The Market for Open Innovation: The 2013 RWTH Open Innovation
Accelerator Survey
. authored by Kathleen Diener & Frank Piller, 2nd
edition, May 2013. Lulu Publishing: Raleigh, USA
(available via study.open-innovation.com).

Check back from more updates and key results from the OIA 2013 market study!

18 05, 2013

Just Released: Completely New 2013 Edition of Our Open Innovation Market Study

By | 2018-06-14T06:47:26+00:00 Mai 18th, 2013|Co-creation, OI Market Study, Open/User Innovation, Research Studies, Technologies & Enablers|

OIA_2013Fresh from the press! For the second time, our open innovation study explores that market of open innovation accelerators (OIA), organizations that help their clients to include external experts in all stages of an innovation project.

Open innovation today has become a core tool in innovation management. But which is the right method for open innovation? Which are the criteria to plan an open innovation project? Which intermediary or service provider has specific knowledge and expertise in, e.g., crowdsourcing, the lead user method, Netnography, idea contests, technology scouting, or broadcast search? This totally updated, 2013 edition report provides a comprehensive analysis of the providers and platforms for open innovation.

We take a detailed look on the methods, cost, project and community structures, and market size. Our purpose is to support strategic decisions when planning an open innovation venture. Managers will gain an overview of the intermediaries available for open innovation and will get advice how to identify partners for their project.

We invited more than 160 intermediaries to join our survey investigating
the OIA’s business model and environment, productivity, services offered, project specifics, and characteristics of their participant pool. In addition, we asked about estimates for the development of the open innovation market. Besides a lot of highly interresting findings about the market for open innovation in general and the intermediary's role in it, we were also able to compile 188 detailed accelerator profiles.

In the following weeks, we will post a series of articles with selected findings from the market study!

The study is available via Lulu.com in both a paperback and an ebook version.

A preview can be found here.

4 04, 2013

Mass Customization at HannoverMesse – Project KUMAC Featured in #HM13 Science Hall

By | 2018-06-14T06:47:53+00:00 April 4th, 2013|Co-Design Process, Customization Trends, Events, Featured Research, Offline Customization, Research Studies, Service Customization, Technologies & Enablers|

BannerFrom 8th to 12th of April 2013, famous trade show  HannoverMesse will take place in Hannover, Germany. Are you going to be there? Great! So will I.

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) will have a large exhibition stand in a prominent spot (hall 2, stand C24) and has invited my research group at RWTH Aachen University to join them. We will present the latest findings from our research project KUMAC which is being funded by the BMBF.

I will be there on Monday, 8th, during the afternoon. Of course, members of our project team will be present throughout the week. So if you are going to visit any the largest industry tradeshow of the world, make sure to stop by! 

The objective of the KUMAC project is to develop new
methods for mass customization providers in the German retail market
These methods support an increase in productivity and value creation
potential of these retailers.

At HannoverMesse we will simulate the prototype of an interactive value-creation process in mass customization, using KUMAC technology to demonstrate its potential to increase both effectiveness and efficiency. In detail we will show and expain:

  • The Live-Help-System connecting online-offline configuration,
  • The Tablet Configuation Software,
  • 3D-Scanner and Softwaretools as well as
  • RFID-Technology for mass customization.


1 04, 2013

[Market Watch] Citizen Made: Customize Your Configurator Out of the Box

By | 2018-06-14T06:48:05+00:00 April 1st, 2013|Customization Trends, Interview, Personalization, Technologies & Enablers|

Citizenmade-logoWhat do mass customized products have in common? In a vast majority of cases, vendors will use a configurator of one sort or another to sell their products in all their customizable varieties.

Making and selling a great mass customized product is no easy task. Setting up and maintaining a well-working configurator is usually not a matter of hours either (and if it is, you can usually instantly tell). The need for technical and design knowledge lacking with many entrepreneurs layed grounds for an industry that can be summed up as "configurators as a (web) service".

One player in this field is Citizen Made. The company does offer designers, entrepreneurs, craftsmen or anybody else the opportunity to use a well-designed, professional configuration tool without having to develop one themselves.

Biopic-fullWe recently met Citizen Made's CEO Rachel Brooks at MIT who gave us an insight into the company, what makes her offerings special and how she sees the future of mass customized products.

FTP: Rachel, you have founded
"Citizen Made". Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your


RB: Prior to starting Citizen Made, I worked in several business and
operational aspects of industrial design, fashion, and retail with small
startups and major retail companies alike. Most recently, I ran operations for
a menswear accessories company that created custom ties, bow ties 
and pocket squares. This is where I set up a supply chain that supports
customization, worked with manufacturers, and worked through the challenges of
offering customization as a core part of business. 

In looking for ways to extend the in-person experience of ordering custom
products, I wanted to incorporate a light-weight configurator on the brand's
site. Citizen Made was created from the difficulty my brand and other peer
designers face in finding an affordable and accessible way to leverage
eCommerce as a sales channel.

FTP: Citizen Made is a service best described as
"configuration as a web service", correct? What exactly do you offer
to your clients?


RB: We provide brands and manufacturers access to a quality configuration
tool in an affordable and accessible way. With our configuration tool
subscription, users get access to a dashboard where they are able to upload
their product variables, images, and define product rules. With this
information, a configurator is dynamically and instantly created, and
becomes available to install onto any site to sell and accept orders for custom

FTP: Customization configurators as an online
service are not an all new idea. What does make Citizen Made special?

RB: Citizen Made was created so that
brands that sell custom products are able to accurately and effectively do so
online, regardless of their access to development professionals, large amounts
of capital, or knowledge of advanced image processing. In creating a standard
configuration tool as a service, our proprietary dashboard makes it simple for
product managers to articulate their product offering in a simple and beautiful
way to the rest of the world, so that they can focus on managing and making
products, instead of software and configurators.

Citizen Made - Canvas screen

FTP: How scalable are your services,
especially with large, demanding clients?

RB: Our standard tool was designed for small and medium sized companies that
require configuration, lightweight inventory management,  sharing
capabilities, and analytics on product components performance. This was
designed for the purpose of data-driven forecasting and purchasing

This level of configuration management as a standard offering today is
world-class, however for enterprise clients that we speak with today, we have
created ways to integrate with select ERP systems and tooling that is specific
to these clients. From a configuration standpoint, a front-end experience where
purchases can be dynamically designed and purchased is very straight forward.
The Citizen Made dashboard today makes it simple for product managers inside of
enterprise settings to update and experiment in real time with their products.

The advanced part, from our perspective, is enterprise supply chain
support, where our team and network works directly with manufacturers to
support the needs of large companies and leverage the benefits of lean

FTP: Do you think that configurators as a
rentable service are superior to inhouse solutions? If so, why? And: for which
target groups?

RB: Software services are a great solution for brands whose core competency
lies outside of software development and management. For the vast majority of
brands, developing and managing software that is advanced enough to painlessly
sell and receive custom orders is understandably outside of their
in-house skill set  By providing affordable sales tools for brands
that sell custom products, we allow them to focus on what they are best at,
while leaving the technical challenges to us. 

Just as most product companies don't engineer their own eCommerce CMS
in-house, we offer a solution to a growing segment of companies that don't
currently have a solution to sell products online.

While our tools are understandably not the perfect solution to all product
categories, we best serve products that are built to order and designed in a
modular way. Products that require web-to-print software are currently served
by other companies; we look to serve those who create beyond the 2D printer.

FTP: How do you think the market for mass
customized goods will evolve over the next years?

RB: With the growing access to configuration tools,
the evolution of local/small batch production, distributed
manufacturing, and even the increasingly availability of commercial 3D print
technology, I believe that we are at a critical point in expansion of mass
customization. The initial goal in creating Citizen Made was to provide a simple
and accessible tool for a company of any size to be able to sell what they are
capable of making, while allowing potential customers to have what they truly
want. I believe that our approach to configuration and access will help
accelerate the prevalence of mass customization.

FTP: In case any of our readers is looking for a
job opportunity, are you hiring?

RB: We currently have opportunities in Community Development and Business

FTP: What are your plans for the next 5 years?

RB: Over the next 5 years, we are
working toward creating tools and infrastructure that makes mass customization
viable across many product categories, regardless of company size or location.
We believe in the benefits of lean manufacturing and innovating supply chains
for the future. We look forward to evolving our tools to reach further into the
supply chain, with the goal of serving and digitizing the supply chain from
front end to fulfillment.

Thank you very much for your answers! It will be interesting to follow the development of Citizen Made and see the business evolve!

And last but not least, hear is an overview video outlining Citizen Made's services in a more visual fashion.


Citizen Made: Customization software for makers from citizenmade on Vimeo.

27 03, 2013

[New German Book] Praxishandbuch Technologietransfer: Innovative Methoden zum Transfer wissenschaftlicher Ergebnisse in die industrielle Anwendung

By | 2018-06-14T06:48:08+00:00 März 27th, 2013|Books, Technologies & Enablers|

German post about our brand new German language book on new methods for university-industry technology transfer!

CoverPraxishandbuch Technologiemanagement
Innovative Methoden zum Transfer wissenschaftlicher Ergebnisse in die industrielle Anwendung

edited by Frank T. Piller & Dennis Hilgers
Symposion Publishing, Düsseldorf, ISBN 978-3-86329-595-0

 Methoden_280Rund 70 Milliarden Euro werden in Deutschland jährlich für Forschung und Entwicklung ausgegeben. Dennoch gelingt es nicht immer, die gewonnenen Erkenntnisse in erfolgreiche Innovationen umzusetzen.

Das Praxishandbuch Technologietransfer stellt neun innovative Methoden und Ansätze vor, die neue Impulse für den Erkenntnis- und Technologietransfer aus der wissenschaftlichen Forschung in die industrielle Anwendung geben. Ein Expertenteam aus verschiedenen Institutionen stellt die Methoden anschaulich vor, gibt Tipps für ihre praktische Anwendung und zeigt Wege zu ihrer Implementierung.

Das Buch richtet sich an Mitarbeiter in Technologietransferstellen, Verantwortliche in wissenschaftlichen Instituten, bei Projektträgern und Förderinstitutionen, an Wissenschaftler, die selbst aktiv Transfer betreiben, und an Gatekeeper und Schnittstellenverantwortliche in Unternehmen.

 Weitere Informationen finden Sie bitte in der
offiziellen Buchvorstellung

4 02, 2013

Lego CUUSOO: How Lego Turns Your Ideas Into Cubic Reality

By | 2018-05-07T15:19:22+00:00 Februar 4th, 2013|Cases-Consumer, Co-creation, Crowdsourcing, Design, MC Alternatives, Open/User Innovation, Technologies & Enablers|

LEGO's Factory (later called "LEGO Design by me") has been one of the pioneers of mass customization.However, times change and Lego closed this "build on demand site" about a year ago and focused entirely on customer co-creation in the innovation process.

For this, they are partnering with CUUSOO; the mother of all crowdsourcing sites for product development (we described them in our 2006 paper on Threadless already!).

The project is called Lego CUUSOO and wors fairly simple: Everybody can submit an idea of what he would deem a great Lego product. Customers get to vote online and if the proposal gets sufficient buyer pledges the company turns it into reality and produces the toy.

Noew, there is a nice video giving more detail on this idea, it makes you instantly grab a pen and paper and start drawing your own powertoy idea…


10 01, 2013

Competivation Consulting Founded to Meet Innovation-, Technology- and Strategy Consulting Needs of Industry

By | 2018-06-14T06:48:44+00:00 Januar 10th, 2013|Co-creation, Co-Design Process, Crowdsourcing, Deutsch (in German), MC/OI on the Web, Offline Customization, Open/User Innovation, Personalization, Technologies & Enablers|

I frequently receive requests by companies for innovation counseling and consulting on open innovation, mass customizuation, and technology management.  While we do not perform any consulting for individual companies with our RWTH-TIM institute, there are a number of opportunities for consulting.

Competivation Consulting & EducationTo meet the needs of industry, together with an experienced executive consultant, Prof. Hans-Gerd Servatius,  we have founded Competivation Consulting, a dynamic innovation and strategy management consulting company from innovators for innovators. 

Combining decades of innovation research, teaching and consulting, COMPETIVATION's team of experts supports your company with

  • Management consulting in innovation and technologymanagement,
  • Strategy and innovation workshops,
  • Strategic and technology roadmapping,
  • Trend analysis and strategic foresight,
  • Technology, market and benchmarking analysis,
  • Implementation counseling,
  • Networking with intermediaries and IT-partners,
  • Executive education programs and corporate speaking

Special areas of expertise are open innovation, customer co-creation, mass customization, but also the development of comprehensive strategies for innovation and technology managememt.

ServatiusProf. Hans-Gerd Servatius has met our Editor in Chief for a brief interview, outlining the USPs of Competivation Consulting and what can be done especially for the open innovation strategist.

CG: Some of our readers will know you as the author of your latest book, touching a pressing matter of our times, Smart Energy. Can you tell a bit about yourself and your experience in technology and innovation management consulting?

GS: We created the term technology and innovation management in the early 1980s at Arthur D. Little, where I led the German TIM practice. For me this was a great opportunity, to put the concepts, which I had developed in my Ph.D. thesis on strategic management of technology into practical work. During the following decades I tried to anticipate the next TIM waves like corporate venture management (which has a lot in common with open innovation), process and business model innovation, knowledge management as well as sustainability, to mention some examples. Today I think technology and innovation management is more important than ever and looking back to its roots helps to better understand the future.

CG: You have over 30 years of experience as a professional consultant, having been anywhere from an entrance position to partner level and managing director in internationally reknown firms. What sets Competivation apart from the existing competition?

GS: I would like to mention three points. First: Competivation is a young firm with very experienced founders. This helps us to create a unique culture. Second: The founders have an excellent reputation as scientists and management consultants. We have a strong international network. Based on these competencies we can be more innovative in our field than many others. And third: Our combination of executive education with consulting offers possibilities for differentiation that satisfy the needs of many clients, who are looking for more sustainable results.

CG: Our readers are especially interested in open innovation. Do you see OI to be the method of choice to solve many of the (technical) problems that companies usually struggle with solving on their own? Why?

GS: Open innovation has proven that it can generate great ideas and solve many problems. Roughly ten years after the term has been created the experience of leading firms with different OI methods is growing. One of the reasons for this success is the increased connectivity potential of a company, its stakeholders and non-obvious others, who can play a role in the innovation processes. A challenge many companies are still facing today is the integration of open integration into an emerging enterprise 2.0 concept. This means that both internal and external innovation must become more cooperative.

CG: Do you think that corporate culture is key element in (remodeling) innovation management, as part of an integrated approach? If so, can you give some examples from your experience?

GS: Corporate Culture is clearly a key element for innovation. It always was and new forms of innovation require cultural adaptations. The cultural challenge today is to find the right balance between closed and open innovation, individual talents and cooperative success as well as trust in others and securing intellectual property. The answer is not black or white. Success formulas are more complex and need to be tailored to specific situations. In our assignments we help organizations and their managers to improve the specific competencies needed to compete in this new era of innovation. An example is an international automotive company, which we support on its way to become a provider of mobility solutions. This requires new business models combining open and closed innovation as well as improved leadership skills as orchestrators of different partners.

CG: Can you give a little insight into your network? What is Competivation`s special competence mix?

GS:  Our network consists of partners in the academic world, complementary service providers and experienced practitioners, who work together in a trust-based way. One example is the Business Transformation Academy, which is sponsored by SAP. On their international conference in October in Budapest we presented our new study of a changing energy sector based on innovative IT enabled business models. If I have a special competence it perhaps is to put technology and innovation management not only into a strategic, organizational and cultural context but also to translate new findings from complexity theory into practical solution sets. In a volatile world this is what many clients are looking for.


GermanWhile Competivation Consulting´s core market is the DACH region (Germany, Austria, and
Switzerland), we are also open for assignments beyond these ountries. You will find more informationen on Competivation and our service portfolio at www.competivation.de (in German language only!) or contact us directly!

21 12, 2012

Conference Report: Observations and Conclusions from the MIT Smart Customization Seminar 2012

By | 2018-06-14T06:48:57+00:00 Dezember 21st, 2012|Customization Trends, Events, MIT SCG, Personalization, Technologies & Enablers, Wrap Up|

Over the past months we have reported a lot on the latest preparations of one of the most important meetings of the customization community in 2012: Smart Customization Seminar, hosted by Smart Customization Group, MIT. Now that the event has taken place and we got some time to breath again we want to take a look back and share some of our experiences with you. 

WorkAtSCGWith the general topic being Micro | Macro | Customization it has been a really broad range of experts giving insight and views on customization from the point of view of their respective field of profession or research. From internationally renown scholars like Joseph Pine, Eric von Hippel or Alex Pentland to experts for (custom) architecture, food individualization or top-notch sports cars: This years lineup of speakers brought some centuries of combined experience into one room. 

Overall there was a great agreement that customization will continue to and play an even more major role in implicit and explicit design of our all's common living space, especially in large cities, and the way we interact, produce, buy and consume. 

FerrariOne highlight of the seminar was when Marco Mattiacci, CEO of Ferrari North America, presented what could be called the glass ceiling of automotive individualization: A Ferrari 599XX EVO, in red, of course. Unfortunately we could not take the 1.500.000 USD car for a short test drive around Boston highways, but at least many auto enthusiasts got the chance to get photographed with this little gem of the four-wheeled world. 

Of course, the car did not just serve as a background for nice souvenir photos. In fact it did underline one very important message: the desire for individualization is an important part of human psychology. While a car for
10.000 USD would get you from A to B just fine, one for over a million Dollar will still leave room for individual desires. And to fulfill these, be it in regards to admittedly exclusive sports cars or "just" individually produced nutrition bars, is not only a big step towards a new age of consumerism but also a business opportunity that could revolutionize many branches. 

MattiacciAs Mattiacci explained in his keynote speech, implementing (the right kind of) customization in an established company is not necessarily an easy undertaking. But once you have overcome potential barriers and worked out a system that fits your product and corporate philosophy, you can majorly benefit from your entrepreneurism: Ferrari managed to increase orders of individualized elements on their cars from a few thousand to about 80.000 USD per new car that is being bought, "just" by tweaking the way they offer customers to personalize their car in Farrari showrooms. That is rather impressive. 

Another great example of how the future of both retail and urban planning could potentially look like was outlined by Prof. Alex Pentland of MIT. He demonstrated how data mining can be employed to optimize shopping experience for customers, making it more convenient to find what you (likely) want to buy, making the process less tiresome and more efficient at the same time. 

As Alex Pentland showed, using a large enough database of location data from cell phones, one can make actually rather precise predictions of the buying behavior of customers, what they are interested in, individually, and which product offer might be benefitial to them. 

Of course, this is a really double-edged sword. Not everybody is comfortable with his location data being used for marketing purposes (or even stored). And while privacy concerns are very much understandable, this technology still has a lot of potential, certainly not against the will of customers but, with their agreement, advertising could see a real revolution. Imagine only seeing product ads about things you really care about on television. No more generalized campaigning but specific offers for every individual, fitting his or her interest and needs. This kind of customization will need a lot of further development until it will become as universally accepted as today's broad-range advertising, but it at least has the potential to play a big part in tomorrows retail world. 

Also very interesting was a finding presented by MIT's Ryan Chin: Employing modern RFID technology his group could prove in a research scenario that mass customized dress shirts are being worn more often or used over a longer period of time as compared to non-customized shirts. This is certainly explainable with not only a better fit but most importantly the customer's increased affection to a product he individualized himself. 


This, and other presentations, deliver a clear message: customization is far more than a trend for those with a special interest in personalized products. It will be one of the most important aspects of living and conducting business in the coming decades. And while we are still far from a fully customized world, this is an excellent time for innovative entrepreneurs to get into the market and secure themselves market shares, like Anthony Flynn did with his venture YouBars, producing custom nutrition bars. And sometimes, its just a small idea that sparks something large

But customization is not only a matter of business opportunities. At least evenly important, it will be part of our future society. More individualism will change the face of urban living, personal traffic, media consumption and many more fields of life forever. And while this development will be driven by consumers and supported by industry, it is also academia and administration who is asked to get a custom world into their focus of attention and do their part to make the future fit the nature of humans better by creating an enviroment that allows individuals to do what makes them individual: Taking and living their choice. 

19 12, 2012

[Participate!] European Open Innovation Practitioner Program

By | 2018-06-14T06:49:11+00:00 Dezember 19th, 2012|Co-creation, Events, Open/User Innovation, Technologies & Enablers|

European open bannerSummary:
Executive Masterclass and Consortial Benchmarking on Open Innovation for executive OI practitioners. Additional information and the full program can be found in the
official program flyer (click to download) and on the official event website.

Implementing Open

collaboration with RWTH Techonology and Innovation Management Group, NineSigma offers a unique practitioners program on open
. The program helps open innovation leaders to implement open
innovation practices and capabilities within their organization
, enabling them
to boost their productivity of innovation

program provides the first certified training for open innovation
and is a unique combination of a master class and
a consortial roadmap initiative that will provide value for the participating open
innovation champion
s and their organizations.

As part of the course, participants will jointly develop a roadmap for implementation of open
. With relevant experts from companies,
best practices are shared on key subjects using insights from academics,
industry, and participating companies
. The sessions are organized on location
at one of the participating member companies

The program targets corporate
who are actively involved in running Open Innovation practices at
. To ensure exchange of experience from all participants, the
required participants level is on the executive level in general (e.g. director
level and higher).

The program consists of 4 full days workshops
and lectures
, 3 online webinar sessions of 1,5 hour and great opportunities for networking. The webinar sessions will be recorded for participants to be able to
. More information in the program brochure.

A registration form and all information can be
obtained from Mrs. Diane Schepers at NineSigma Leuven by writing an email to schepers@ninesigma.com or on the official event website. All info is also here in
official program brochure.

18 12, 2012

[Market Watch] CowCrowd: Wear Your Friends On Customizable Wooden Tags

By | 2018-06-14T06:49:15+00:00 Dezember 18th, 2012|Cases-Consumer, Customization Trends, MC/OI on the Web, Personalization, Technologies & Enablers|

CowCrowd_3In conjunction with the MC2012 conference on mass customization in June we reported on CowCrowd,  a customization project by Viennese media agency cyLEDGE. Since our posting back then was in German only (as was the conference), here is what CowCrowd does. 

CowCrowd.com is an online configurator where users can create small wooden pendants with individual messages. These messages contain text or symbols and even photos, which can be uploaded an placed on the „cow tags“. As a special feature, users can directly connect to Facebook to engrave the profile pictures of their friends and family onto the tags.

cyLEDGE, being an innovative media agency, also does its best to make the project as customer-interactive as possible.  Users are invited to share their designs and use cases on Facebook to inspire others and spark new ideas. Via social networks the company stays in close contact with its fans and posts regularly on new infos and funny internet memes, most of them cow themed.

Now, part of being a customer-centric venture is to closely listen to customer wishes and to adapt one's own processes and portfolio to make the one individual happy that really counts: your client. Hence, for the holiday season CowCrowd created two new shapes to give the users more alternatives for their individual pendant. The new shapes are a Christmas tree for last minute presents and a simple round tag to meet the user's demands for more neutral forms than the classic „cow tags“.


Provided, when we first heard about CowCrowd, we were a bit hasitant about wearing a tag formed like a cow's head. However, when we got a chance to see and feel them live on the MC2012 conference, we were all charmed by their cuteness and surface quality. They certainly make a nice gift and there is no real risk in giving it a try yourself since the customizable pendants are available for under 5 EUR.

More about CowCrowd on the official project website

5 11, 2012

Lumographics: 3D Configurators in Mass Customization [Interview]

By | 2018-06-14T06:49:54+00:00 November 5th, 2012|Design, Interview, Personalization, Technologies & Enablers, Virtual Models|

LumologoSeeing is believing. This old yet certainly often correct phrase describes one of the phenomena of human psychology: No matter how great your product is, no matter how well you describe it in text, one subpar image can ruin the entire impression and make your would-be customer decide against the purchase.

This is especially true when it comes to products for which buying decision is mainly based on aesthetics. Customers usually (more or less) instantly recognize what they like but are often bad at describing it with words – or transforming a product description into a mental picture of the product.

Mass customized products add to this by putting the "burden" of design into the customers hands, enabling him to decide which combination of design factors looks best – and, forcing him to do so.

 3D visualizations as part of a configurator is one option companies have to make life a bit easier for their clients and increase chances to sell a product. Well visulized products give an instant idea of what one will gain for his money and how it will change with different options selected. As with most configurator-related things, though: If it is being done the right way.

Since 3D modeling and the required software coding is certainly not easy, seeking professional help is usually a good idea. One such company to assist mass customization ventures in presenting their products in the right light is LumoGraphics.

Being in the business of professional-grade 3D configuration systems since 1998, the German company works for industry mayors such as Mercedes-Benz, helping them to visualize their line of buses in full 3D.

Marc HerlingMarc Herling, CEO of LumoGraphics and speaker at the MC2012 conference in June, was kind enough to answer some of our questions about 3D modeling as a service, as a business model, as an enabler and how mass customization companies can profit from it.

FTP: Marc, your company Lumo Graphics offers
completely individualized 3D products visualization, which is a good example
for service customization. What kinds of services and products do you
offer and how far can they be individualized to each client of yours?

MH: Lumo
Graphics offers solutions for 3D visualization and configuration based on our
standard platform LumoLogic. With LumoLogic users can combine their complex
product structure and variants with the configuration logic and a real-time 3D visualization.
Besides the services for project management and support Lumo Graphics also
offers additional tools like LumoLogic DataPreparator for process integration
and LumoVis as a 3D visualization engine.

FTP: Can you tell a bit about what you have in store
for companies?

MH: Lumo
Graphics works for a lot of customers especially in the complex B2B area. They
all like the integrated and complete solution of Lumo Graphics with 3D
visualization, configuration management and data integration. With Lumo
Graphics companies can avoid failures in the implementation of a 3D
configurator, because of our one stop shopping approach.

FTP: In your presentation at the MC2012 you used the
term YGWYW (You Get What You Want), as an evolvement of the classical WYSIWYG
(What You see Is What You Get). Can you tell more about how 3D imagery changes
the product/buying experience for shoppers when using online configurators?

MH: It is
widely known that seeing is believing. We also quite often talk about that an
image is worth more than 1000 words. So if a customer decides for a complex and
often expensive product he needs a qualitative decision support that is given
by 3D visualization. Products are not only being sold by a rational decision
process but quite often by an emotional aspect, especially in aesthetical
design decisions. 3D visualization also helps customers to understand the
overall possibilities of a product and its variants. So at the end the customer
will get a compelling impression of its own product and forces a correct and a
comprehensible decision.

FTP: Getting a really professional 3D visualization
is most likely more expensive than having a photographer shooting my products.
For which companies do you think these additional costs are outweighing by the
added value of 3D imagination? In other words: For whom are the costs worth it?

MH: If a
company sells products with no or only limited variants than it may be cheaper
to hire a photograph. But in a case that your products have a lot of variants
then it is impossible for a photographer to cover all of them in a given
timeframe and budget. And you always need to wait until the product exists. With
software like that of Lumo Graphics you will be able to manage thousands of
variants and their graphical representation quite easily.

FTP: Do you think 3D product demonstration is
especially suited for MC companies because of the fact that consumers (=
non-professional designers) are integrated into the product design process?

MH: Absolutely.
You have millions of possibilities for a 3D visualization especially in e-commerce.
MC companies need to have a graphical representation of their products because
it makes the customers decision so much easier. Why? In Mass customization the
customers always have a fear of a wrong decision because the product does not
exist before he orders it. So he does not know if it will work (Functional failures)
and if it will look like he is expecting (Aesthetical failures). So the 3D
visualization  assists the customer in his
decision process.

FTP: Can you tell more about the (emotional)
importance of presenting the consumer a more realistic image of what he’s going
to buy?

MH: Think about
dating sites or Facebook. Why does every user of these sites choose an
excellent or a funny picture? The eye believes realistic pictures. And the
pictures create involvement. It’s the same with product visualization. I want
to buy the best looking and working product. If the visualization of a product is
nearly perfect the involvement goes up!

FTP: Do you have figures or specific customer
feedback on how implementing 3D visualizations improved sales or customer

MH: Franz Rapp,
Designer of Mercedes-Benz Buses told us: "We introduced the 3D interior
configurator in order to give our customers reliable support in making
decisions about our highly complex products. After well over 1000 successful
consultations, we have demonstrated that we're right on track with Lumo

customers told us that they reduced the failure rate and the cost of change by
more than 20%.

FTP: How does cooperating with you work in practice?

MH: As I said
before we are a solution company. So if a company identifies the need for 3D visualization
we advise them based on our expertise and technology. After the decision for an
implementation we need to find and prepare the product data (geometries,
dependencies, and so on). In that step we also generate the 3D models and
visualizations of all products parts. After that we install LumoLogic and build
the rules for the real-time visualization. If the customer uses a configuration
toolkit we integrate it. And of course we support the customer in all

FTP: Pretended I was a medium sized MC company
asking for assistance to set up a 3D configurator for my online store. Which
services/products would you recommend to me and how would the process evolve
from there?

MH: First of
all you need to ask what kind of value do you expect from using a 3D
configuration process. Will your product fit and do you have all the product
data? Just a simple example. Would mymuesli.com sell so much more by using a 3D

If you
think and believe that the 3D configurator will help you to get more revenue or
to cut costs or to increase the efficiency of your processes, than we will
advise the customer based on our solutions. And we also talk about the
investment in Hard- and Software. If all checkings  generate a positive ROI than we will offer
the customer the LumoLogic and LumoVis products.

FTP: How easy is it to maintain a 3D configurator in
my online store?

MH: The main
part in maintaining a 3D configurator is the administration of the product
logic. So do I need to stay flexible to change parts in the product database or
does it take long periods of time to get updated 3D models whenever I want to
change something?

LumoLogic we offer a very easy administration tool to combine product parts
with 3D images and configuration rules.

FTP: Can you talk about business figures at all, how
well-received are your services on the MC market?

MH: Depends on
your definition of the MC market. We have a strong position at B2B MC companies
that sell complex products. We don’t have such a strong position in the B2C
segment of the market. But with our strategy we grow approx. 40% per year in the
last years.

FTP: Do you have more traditional or mass
customization companies, and how is the trend there?

MH: We serve
nearly 100% traditional mass customization companies. By that we mean companies
that sell traditional products but with the mass customization approach. But quite
often they don’t name it Mass Customization.

FTP: Obviously most MC companies are still relying
on classical 2D images for their product presentation, while rendered 3D models
have been available since many years. Why, in your opinion, do they still
hesitate to change to the third dimension?

MH: 3D has
quite often not a good reputation because many people believe that it is
complicated and expensive. But with the enormous boost for the 3D technology in
the last years the use of 3D became very easy. And with the enormous boost in bandwidth
we believe that the usage of 3D models in marketing and sales is going to increase.

FTP: What do you think of mass customization in
general, will it be "just a trend" or become (one of) the major
retail models of the future?

MH: Mass
Customization is in the B2B Segment a huge part of the technical solution
concept to deliver technical and design variants, so it is not a trend it is

FTP: Having worked with MC companies before, which
advice do you want to give to them, especially in regards to the importance of
and proper setup of visual product presentation?

MH: Start small
with only one product or product line but work on the process. 3D visualizations
are only one part of the complete configuration process. The full configuration
of the product is represented in a configuration management tool. But also look
at a tool based administration for 3D visualization and use standard software.
Also have in mind that you want to sell across more than one channel. Use 3D
models for configuration and real-time visualization but CGI (computer
generated images) for printed offers. With that you will be prepared fort he 3D
configuration future.

FTP: Marc, thank you very much for these insights! I am looking forward to see more (MC) products being represented in a more realistic way, using professional 3D technology, in the future.

22 10, 2012

European Commission is Funding Research on Mini Factories for Customized, Decentral Production

By | 2018-06-14T06:50:12+00:00 Oktober 22nd, 2012|General, Research Studies, Technologies & Enablers|

Logo_enAs part
of the Factories of the Future Call, the European Commission is focusing on
mini factories for customized products using local flexible production.

This is
a topic that I have researched for a very long time, staring with a large
research cluster during my old times at TU Munich (here some old paper: http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/3-540-27367-0_27), and continuing with more recent research.

So it is
very interesting that the EU Commission now also is taking up this topic and
proactively is asking for proposals. In their call, they formulate future needs as follows:

Advanced production
and innovative systems are needed to enable ultra-fast and cost
effective manufacturing of fully customised products on the spot
and exactly at
the required time
. Innovative production solutions must be developed to bring
manufacturing operations closer in time and space to the final customer. In
addition, new factory concepts need to be developed like on-site factories or
factories-in-a container
, which provide instant manufacturing and customisation
services in retail environments.

mini-factories, addressing adaptation to customer needs at or near the point of
sales or use, will be characterised by fast ramp-up, small footprint and
reusability, and will be easy to handle and to set-up. Those production systems
should also include related new technologies for supply chain management,
product distribution and direct end-user interaction.


The call expects project results to have the following impacts:

  • Increased ability to rapidly follow the market dynamics by means of fast
    production and delivery of personalised final products.
  • Reduction of the time to market by 50%.
  • Cost
    reduction (around 30%) by decreasing lead times in product and process
  • Set-up
    and ramp-up time reduction (around 30%) for new processes and plant designs of
    the mini-factories.

This is
a really interesting field, and if anyone is searching for a scientific partner from a business school eager to join a consortium,
please let us know 🙂